Race & Memorialization


Rhetoric and communication studies professor Nicole Maurantonio's research explores narrative and material traces of memory. Her book, Confederate Exceptionalism: Civil War Myth and Memory in the Twenty-First Century, explores how the Confederacy is remembered today, using museum exhibits and souvenirs, monuments, literature, and graffiti as sites of study. 

In December 2019, Maurantonio wrote an article for The Conversation that explores how something as small as a souvenir, can play a role in normalizing racist ideals. 

"In researching my 2019 book, “Confederate Exceptionalism,” I studied sites throughout the American South whose histories are tied to enslaved labor. Seemingly charming souvenirs are sold to commemorate many of these places – from the White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, to Stone Mountain, a Georgia cliffside carved with images of Confederate generals.

And while these keepsakes may seem apolitical, their very circulation enables Confederate myths and symbols to become “normal” features of people’s daily lives. My research suggests they can thus desensitize Americans to the destructive nature of such stories and icons."

Contact Lauren Anesta at lauren.anesta@richmond.edu to connect with Maurantonio.